Three seasons into her role as lead designer for Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton still can’t shake Gaia, the all-encompassing mother of Earth, off her back. Perhaps it is that deep affinity Burton has to the mythological roots of feminine dictations that has allowed her to not only carry the weight of her former boss’ legacy so quickly, but has helped to anchor the brand in a vision of feminine strength that women, and buyers, find more accessible.
She designed it in two weeks. Actually, 13 days. From the close of her Prada show in Milan straight on through the entire course of Paris Fashion Week, Miuccia Prada designed, sealed and delivered the entire collection of her little sister brand Miu Miu.
After a dark and tight lineup for fall, Marc Jacobs and his Louis Vuitton team did a huge about-face with a sugary and light collection for spring. Jacobs, a big fan of the fashion show-in-the round model, set up an enormous carousel in the Louvre’s Cour Carree, his delicate and very lady-like models sitting side-saddle, some of them looking like picture-perfect Monet subjects with their parasols in hand.
Bleached brows and clean skin exaggerated the monochromatic collection, giving the models an almost ghostly quality, ethereal and pure, pulling the look far away from sex and keeping it clean.
While most designers who toyed with minimalism did it a season ago, Rick Owens scaled the heights of that trend, bringing it to its apotheosis in his latest ready-to-wear.
There’s many a watchword in the world of Missoni, ‘knits’ being the prime. ‘Patterns’ is another, but so is ‘saturation’. Angela Missoni’s real wizardry lies in how she pulls varying textures, prints and techniques to create looks that are always stringently representative of the Maison.
The great thing about Marni is that its one of the few great houses that refuses to rest on its laurels. Each season Consuelo Castiglioni takes a dramatic chance and comes up the winner every time. Marni is consistently good.
The big chunky earrings that fit the food theme appropriately helped carry that old school Mambo Italiano vibe (As well as the song itself). There was also no way to look at the burgeoning prints and the inviting, bright colors and not see a heavy take over of optimism in these clothes.
For spring Dundas hit the books, the Pucci archives to be specific, and felt himself particularly drawn to the Brigitte Bardot/boheme fevered era of the early 1970s and splattered his gypsy skirts and peasant cropped tops in an archival print, even hand embroidering it on a house signature white maxi dress and a hand crocheted caftan with fringed ends.
Lisa Butler, artist for this show explains, “It’s all about the eye, but we don’t want it to be too neat or too smoky. It’s very loose, very relaxed, and quite wild.”
While other designers look outward for inspiration, finding creative ammunition in Jazz Age flappers, Hawaiian floral and tribal prints, Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier looks inward, finding that the most consistent and surefire location to hunt down inspiration is in works of art themselves.
Raf Simons has a real talent for answering equally to both men and women’s sartorial dreams. The themes and motifs he explores in his eponymous line and for the treasured house of Jil Sander tend to catch on with other designers like wildfire.
With Trussardi celebrating its centennial this year, it was time to reevaluate things. The brand, whose bread and butter is its luxury leather goods, joined the game of creative director musical chairs that never seemed to end this year and ditched Milan Vukmirovic who had been at the helm since 2008.
Miuccia Prada has been stricken with a discernable strain of sweetness this season. Her latest outing for Prada was laden in 1950s nostalgia and tongue-in-cheek housewifeyness, but not without its equal plays with the subversive.
Something is happening at Gucci these days. For the past few seasons, it ‘s felt like no matter what the theme, Frida Giannini has to bash you over the head with it.
Internationally acclaimed makeup artist, Pat McGrath, creates a “tougher, stronger look” for Frida Giannini’s 1920′s influenced presentation featuring striking blacked out eyes and a flawless face.
After two consecutive seasons chockfull of her now signature trompe l’oeil dresses, not to mention two seasons of radical praise from the entire fashion world, Mary Katrantzou approached this third season in the spotlight with an understood concern.
Riccardo Tisci always seems to have an animal in mind when he’s designing a collection for Givenchy. Cranes, rottweilers, panthers – they’ve all made it down this runway.
Glowing faces were clean, dewy and fresh. Cheeks were lightly bronzed, as if only slightly brushed by the rays of the sun. The only ornamentation to the eyes were two silver sequins, one for each eye, cut in half centered on the top and bottom lid like tiny sparkling moons.
The heavy handcraft touch was expected, given the sensational menswear showing three months prior. All of the same experiments with geometric wood carving appliques, the weaving and braiding, the heavy beading was all here, and played just as strongly in the womenswear.
Were I Christopher Kane, I’d be terrified to follow up the ingenious collection he showed for Fall/Winter 2011 back in February. His liquid pouched dresses and handbags are the stuff collectors’ dreams are made of and they signaled a true forward-thinking stance that not many would dare to muster in a scenario as grandiose as London Fashion Week.
A set of photographs that the late Sir Beaton snapped of his two sisters, Nancy and Baba, entitled “Symphony in Silver” was the initial spark, so to speak, of Giles Deacon’s latest outing for Giles. Warhol’s imitated to death ‘Silver Clouds’ took the baton from Beaton for a show that was laced in theatricality from opener to closer.
Jonny Johansson’s latest for Acne is the fruit of a recent inspiration-seeking vacation in Marrakech. Not wanting to go too easily with the grain, he worked against the trite interpretations spawned from such a place, not just with mania, but something more akin to verve.
This latest from Calvin Klein Collection saw Francisco Costa at his most paired down. While many designers felt around minimalism for Fall 2011, opting for saturated brights and piñatas of prints for spring and summer, Costa took nudes, metallics and black and made dresses, skirts, coats with a supremely subtle hand, constructing pieces that were far from being as simple and stripped down as they might first appear.
Flappers. Cowgirls. Industrial factory workers. They all came down Marc Jacobs’ stunningly constructed Edison bulb lit saloon runway at the Lexington Armory. If Jacobs has a knack for one thing in this industry, it’s showmanship. He’s one of the few designers who truly knows how to put on a show and his vision is always holistically considered. With Philip Glass’ 70s opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’ serving as runway music – it was hard to get the show’s pace, and the tune, out of your head once the gold lame curtain closed.